Assumption Catholic Church
323 West Illinois Street - Chicago IL 60654
(ph) 312-644-0036  (fax) 312-644-1838    Map & Directions
Assumption Spotlights > Assumption Spotlights - January 2015



Assumption Spotlights - January 2015


A Passion for Justice:  
By Elizabeth Kabacinski

If you've been at Assumption for more than a year or so, you probably already know who Joel Vugteveen is. One of the original nine members of the Pastoral Council, Joel has had a hand in a number of things around Assumption including the Ministry Fair, Assumption Young Adults Masses and our Parish Social Justice movement.

Even though he's a familiar face around these parts, there are a few things that you probably don't know about our beloved Joel.

For example, are you aware that he and his wife Lauren own four cats? And that he plays favorites among his feline companions? The story goes that he was tricked into cat #3, but felt compelled to get #4 with the logic that "even is better than odd, right?" Nevertheless, Peach -- the cat named for the Princess from Super Mario Bros. -- is his favorite. Joel claims that the other three have no idea that he doesn't love them as much, but the cats could not be reached for comment.

Pet favoritism aside, Joel's real passion is social justice. Joining the Catholic Church through the RCIA program, Joel was particularly attracted to the Church's emphasis on community outreach and social engagement. This worked well with his burgeoning commitment to social justice.

He says: "I've been interested in social justice since I was in college and especially after 2008, so that means it’s basically my entire adult political life. I think it’s important to look not just at symptoms, but the underlying causes of issues, and take action to remedy the root cause. I try to be involved where I can and pay attention to ongoing social-justice actions in the city."

Assumption's Social Justice Ministry program is in its infancy. If any member of the parish is interested in learning more or getting involved, Joel encourages them to get in touch with him at

a Parishioner with Many Hats
By Lynne Japp

 Rosemary Reeves is indeed a parishioner who wears many hats, both literally and figuratively.  She is a Chicago native, who was raised in the Bronzeville area.  She has been married to her husband, Morris, for forty-three years and has been a member of the Assumption Parish for twenty years.  If you see her singing in the choir at the 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass, she’ll be the one in a hat. 

The hats she’s worn, as seen at left, have given her experience in diverse professional fields.  She was first a medical technologist with a degree from the Cook County School of Medicine.  The sense of style that she wears so well comes from her second career as a designer, wholesaler and retailer in the fashion industry.  Her latest endeavor has been as founder of Women-Eye (, a nonprofit organization to empower women to become financially independent by supporting and educating them in the development of their own businesses. 

She also threw her hat into the political ring in an unsuccessful bid for Cook County Commissioner for the 3rd District last spring.  Her motivation for doing this was to reduce poverty and expand the middle class by fostering economic development through support for small neighborhood businesses as well as her concern for women’s issues.  And she’s not done yet!  Rosemary is in the process of developing an organization called Forty8 to help women age 48 and older overcome the challenges of this stage of life, including starting over after a loss. 

Rosemary is proud to have been one of the nine founding members of the Order of Secular Servants of Mary here at Assumption.  As such, she underwent a year of study in the tenets of the Order.  You can find out more about the Order on the Assumption website,

Rosemary seems to have an unending source of energy and drive.  She always appears calm and composed, the quiet eye (Woman-Eye?) at the center of a storm.

Rest in Peace –

In December Assumption Parish bid farewell to Fr. Anthony O’Connell, O.S.M., a long-time resident at Assumption Rectory who often celebrated parish Masses. Fr. O’Connell was born in Cork, Ireland in 1941. He joined the Servites (Friar Servants of Mary) in Benburb, Northern Ireland, in 1959. He made his solemn vows as a Servite in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1967.

During his 47 years as a Catholic priest, he taught at the old St. Philip High School in Chicago, was Novice Master for Servite seminarians in both Ireland and the United States, and served as Vicar Provincial in Ireland and as Provincial for the United States Province of Servites. Trained as a Psychologist, Fr. O’Connell spent most of the last thirty years in private practice here in River North, counseling priests, religious, and laity. He was also a Psychology Instructor at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein. From 1982 until 2006 he lived at Assumption.
Fr. Tony suffered from a number of serious health issues during the last four years; and, so, was seen much less often in church. He died Sunday December 7. His funeral was here at Assumption on Thursday evening December 11. Requiescat in pace.